The first race of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham this morning was dictated by tyre choice. Clearly while damp, wet tyres would provide the necessary grip - however, as the sun broke through as the cars lined up on...
The first race of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham this morning was dictated by tyre choice. Clearly while damp, wet tyres would provide the necessary grip - however, as the sun broke through as the cars lined up on the grid, it was clear the weather was improving.
The Airwaves BMW drivers Jackson and Kane both took chances, Jackson opting for wets all round and Kane for slicks. In the end it was the Ulsterman who made the correct decision, and as each lap passed his skill and determination saw him move up the order with gusto.
Jackson initially pulled away; his wet tyres digging into the greasy surface as those around him scrambled and struggled for grip. Going into Turn 1 he had made up six places, finding himself in 5th.
Kane on the other hand began the race on full slicks. Initially the northern Irishman struggled with a distinct lack of grip but, as the East Midlands dried, he began to reel in the competition.
By lap 14 of this 16 lap race, Kane had settled in 6th, but the Airwaves BMW kicked up a gear and, guided by the slip stream of O'Neal's Honda Integra, squeezed passed on the final lap to take 5th and secure six crucial points. It was an excellent display from the 29-year old driver and winner of the season's first HiQ Champagne Moment.
A dry start to the day's second race removed any difficult decisions for Airwaves BMW, and thankfully the drivers proved their worth.
Starting in 13th and 5th respectively, Jackson and Kane had rather a lot to do if they were to keep Airwaves BMW title pretentions alive.
From the off both Jackson and Kane did what both are capable of, Kane almost immediately turning his 5th spot into a 2nd place podium position.
Jackson from 13th would not be outdone. Lap after lap the Henley-in-Arden driver pursued and then passed all that stood in his way - a stunning reflection of the talents of this racing star. From13th position Mat made up an astounding nine places, finishing the race in 4th and taking home 8 points for himself and the team. It was an exhibition that thrilled the Rockingham faithful.
Kane, in 2nd, hunted down Plato in an epic bid to claim his second BTCC win of the season. On the penultimate lap and in a bid to take home the top honours he pushed the Airwaves BMW a fraction too hard through Deene.
Running wide he left the door open for Collard who snatched 2nd. In the end Kane was unlucky to finish 3rd, but the team were delighted with his second podium and the10 points he picked up in the process.
The final race of the day defined why the BTCC is such a highly regarded and adrenalin fuelled racing series.
Jackson and Kane starting in 6th and 7th both began strongly. On the first lap Jackson who stormed up the grid was left scratching his head after an ill advised overtaking move from Chilton took the Airwaves BMW driver out of the race on the very first lap.
Hopes therefore were in the hands of Kane, and the plucky 29-year old showed true grit and determination and he and the team can be proud of his efforts.
From 7th, he worked his magic, gaining places and momentum.
A few laps in, Kane, on the tail of Andrew Jordan's turbo-charged Vectra, tried every trick in the book to get past. Millimetres from Jordan's bumper, Kane kept a cool head, eventually passing on lap 15 of this 16 lap race, with a clean and precise overtaking manoeuver that left him in 4th.
Ahead of him Onslow-Cole was pressurized into a mistake, and through Deene drifted onto the grass. Kane leapt at the chance, nipping in to 3rd position and bringing home a further 10 points for himself and the team. With two podiums this was a day that belonged to Steven Kane, and the crowd let him know it. He and the Airwaves BMW team are more than a little proud of his three podiums in two race meetings.
This left Airwaves BMW in first place in the HiQ Teams Championship with 80 points, first place in the Independent's team championship with 73 points. Kane and Jackson also finish the day in 2nd and 3rd in the Independent's driver championship, and 3rd and 6th in the BTCC Drivers Championship. Another splendid result for the Airwaves BMW team.
Airwaves BMW Team driver Steven Kane said: "An awesome weekend, my second podium of the day - I really couldn't ask for more. I gave it my all in every race, and I was a little unlucky in the first, but I want to thank the team because without them this wouldn't have happened. They have worked so hard that not one of them has even had a chance to eat today, that shows you how committed they are to winning the championship. If I can keep this up and not make any mistakes over the next few races I'll be right up there."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Mat Jackson said: "I had a slight misfire in race one, an excellent result in race two and then in race three things out of my control took me out of the race. The turbo cars have a lot of power through the corners, and inexperience showed. I am hugely disappointed for the team and myself as I feel a podium and a win were not out of the question. "
Airwaves BMW Team Manager Oliver Collins said: "We leave Rockingham with mixed emotions. Both Mat & Steven drove brilliantly throughout the weekend. Steven got some good solid results, with another two podiums. Unfortunately Mat had his chances taken away from him through no fault of his own. Both had good cars easily capable of podiums. The team once again has shown its true worth with some fantastic work today to get the cars out for all the races.
-source: airwaves bmw
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